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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Portrait of mother (after Mirka)

by Nat Thomas & Concettina Inserra

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009 Finalist

This portrait is an homage to the Melbourne artist Mirka Mora and in a broader sense, the place of 'family' within artistic practice. The work was inspired by a story in Mirka Mora's biography, My Life: Wicked but Virtuous. It describes how Mirka spontaneously decorated her face with zinc cream and mascara one dull Sunday afternoon at her holiday house in Aspendale. The 'performance' was designed to enliven an otherwise mundane family Sunday dinner. A photograph was taken which later appeared on the cover of the influential '60s underground publication, Oz magazine. As Mirka herself recalled 'You can't do better than that on a Sunday afternoon, and it makes me think of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and its current is strong; no sooner does anything appear than it is swept away, and another comes in its place, and will be swept away too.'

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009

Related information

Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne
Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne
Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne
Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009

Previous exhibition, 2009

In its second year at the National Portrait Gallery, and for the first time touring to other venues, the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009 continues to present surprising perspectives on the nature of contemporary portrait photography.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.